4,000+ have applied for Wake County’s rental assistance program; leaders agree to add more funds

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — On Monday, Wake County agreed to put more money into rental assistance for people behind on their bills from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissioners accepted and appropriated more than $15 million in federal funds to be used toward the rental assistance program. This is in addition to millions in federal funds already approved to be used toward the same program in February.

It’s part of a larger community effort to address the housing emergency.

“Now everybody’s starting to get back to work and everybody’s starting to [say], ‘OK, let’s find my new normal, maybe I want to move now, maybe find someplace different,'” said Dawn Fagan, executive director of the Housing Authority of Wake County.

The Housing Authority of Wake County provides housing and rent vouchers for hundreds of low-income families.

“Because there’s such a demand for housing, they’re able to raise those rents higher than our low-income folks can afford,” said Fagan.

She said nearly two years ago, they almost emptied the waiting lists of people looking for housing or vouchers.

Now, they’re maxed out.

“I think I get emails daily about our waiting list being open,” said Fagan.

Wake County also now has a waiting list of its own to help with affordable housing.

To cut down on more people needing to find a place to live, commissioners have now approved more than $34 million of federal funds to go toward eviction prevention and utility assistance.

It’ll help qualified renters behind on bills — aiming to address some of the questions housing experts, from the county to the housing authority, are hearing more and more.

“I need to know where I’m going to put my kids to bed tonight,” so that’s kind of the challenge for all of us that are in the industry is how do we solve that?” said Fagan.

The House Wake! COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program has received more than 4,000 applications since it kicked off in September 2020.

The county said they can’t really gauge the amount each person will receive because each applicant’s rental history or late payments are different. The program will pay for up to 12 months of back rent owed since April 2020 as well as late utility bills.

For more information, go here: https://housewake.org/

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